Track Review: Black City Nights // Always You

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As the world slowly emerges from the loneliness induced by pandemic isolation, we start to search for the soundtrack to accompany our tentative steps to social contact and the creation of new memories. So often in the last year, we reached for the comfort blanket of nostalgia. It is fitting, then, that Always You channel the ’80s on their new single ‘Black City Nights’ to help ease our path to freedom.

‘Black City Nights’ is the third single from LA-based project Always You’s forthcoming second album, Bloom Off The Rose. Brothers, Anton and Christoph Hochheim, formerly known as Ablebody, wanted to create an album that reflected change, discovery and romance. The new track fits within that theming with Christoph saying: “‘Black City Nights’ is a song for the dishevelled and defeated, a vivid depiction of long sleepless nights, chasing ghosts of one’s past and future, lost bets, and blind optimism that the next big break is just around the corner. It’s about loneliness and what people do to escape it, as well as the hopefulness that keeps us pushing through.”

The new release shimmers with the relaxed ambience of gentle synth rhythms and crashing drums. It feels soothing and familiar, drawing in the listener. The deadpan vocals only enhance the sense of deja vu, with tinges of Pet Shop Boys or The Divine Comedy coming through in the delivery. The song also hits the right lyrical notes for the post lockdown mood. There is an undercurrent of loneliness but the repeated “Black City Nights” chorus acts like a siren-call, drawing us out of our homes, out of our COVID-19 stupor. 

Close your eyes and allow the calm synth-pop dreamscape to transport you to late-night gatherings; friendships are reborn, there’s the gentle rise of bubbles in slender glasses and the sights and smells of understated glamour. As the track fades out, the haunting tones of a saxophone permeate the mix and the twinkle of synthesised keys brings our night out to a close.

‘Black City Nights’ isn’t brash or bold. The single acts as a gentle stimulant to our musical senses—a re-introduction to the soundscape of nighttime socialising that so many have grown unaccustomed to. It feels good to be back.

Words by Andrew Butcher


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